Between Durban II and III
Other Durban Implementation Mechanisms Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Mr. Frank La Rue submitted his Report at the 11th Human Rights Council session in June 2009. During the presentation of the Report on June 2, 2009 he said:
"It is timely that presentation of my first report takes place roughly a month after the Durban Review Conference [DRC]. I am convinced the DRC marked a new era in the international fight against racism and promotion of human rights in general. Let me pay tribute to those delegation that engaged in relenting negotiations to produce consensual and robust outcome document that will help mobilize international engagement for hr. I would like to publicly express my full support to the DRC outcome document and to call all states even those that didn't attend the DRC to implement its provisions. In particular I would like to highlight some provisions which in my view represent new international consensus on freedom of expression: Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance
Para 58. Stresses that the right to freedom of opinion and expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic, pluralistic society and stresses further the role these rights can play in the fight against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance worldwide;
Para 13. Reaffirms that any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law; reaffirms further that all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination as well as all acts of violence or incitement to such acts shall be declared offence punishable by law, in accordance with the international obligations of States and that these prohibitions are consistent with freedom of opinion and expression;
Para 69. Resolves to, as stipulated in art. 20 of the ICCPR [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights], fully and effectively prohibit any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence and implement it through all necessary legislative, policy and judicial measures.
We should clearly recognize the agreement reached on this document. The document strikes a fine and successful balance between the need to fully promote freedom of expression as one of the key components in fight against racism and the need to combat some forms of expression that constitute incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence. The Conference also managed to show unequivocally we all share common concern about hate speech and that measures need to be taken in accordance with relevant instruments including the article 20 of the ICCPR."
Mr. Githu Muigai released his Report on the manifestations of defamation of religions, and in particular on the serious implications of Islamophobia in July 2009. The Report was presented during the 12th session of the Human Rights Council in October 2009.
The Special Rapporteur welcomed "the adoption of the important outcome document of the Durban Review Conference" held in April 2009 and "specifically refered to the paragraphs in the outcome document addressing the question of incitement to racial or religious hatred and incidents of racial or religious violence" (paragraphs 12, 13, 68, 69, 99 and 134).
He believes "that the text of the outcome document reaches a fine balance in reaffirming the importance of freedom of expression and highlighting the need to curb hate speech. In this regard, the outcome document should be seen as a building block for a new era in the international approach to the question of incitement to racial or religious hatred, offering robust and adequate language to guide policymakers in this area."
Furthermore, he noted "that the only sustainable solution to the problem of hate speech, and racism or discrimination more broadly, is to implement in their entirety the provisions of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action and the outcome document of the Durban Review Conference. Those documents offer the most comprehensive framework to guide actions at the international, regional and national levels in the common fight against racism."